“I don’t stay anywhere. I visit. I observe. I leave. I don’t ever stay.”
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.
As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.
I’ve read a bunch of time travel stories before not only in fantasy or science-fiction genre but also in a contemporary like this one. With that I proceed reading Time Between Us with some expectations. Like some of my latest time travel reads I expected an intricate time travel plot where I have to concentrate with the year and time of each time travel jumps. Time Between Us is not as intricate and complicated as I expected it to be, which makes the book easy to read. Majority of the story happens in the past year and not in the present so you don’t need to puzzle your mind so much in thinking what timeline are you reading. Personally, I prefer an intricate version but still a simple and nicely plotted story has its own charm.
Anna as a character and narrator is likable but I wasn’t able to really connect with her. I don’t agree with her every decisions, not only because I feel that they are selfish and not the best but also because she isn’t making her own stand. Even her belief and view of things are a bit contradictory. Like her stand in altering past events. She was the one who begged Bennett to go back in time in order to save Emma and Justin without giving the two any choices. She basically decided the fate of her friends without consulting them. But when she found out that Bennett actually used his time travel ability to omit one kiss they shared she become so furious and even called Bennett a hypocrite. She’s angry because according to her Bennett changed part of her life without giving her a choice but in fact few days ago she asked Bennett to changed Emma and Justin’s life without even thinking of asking permission first from Emma and Justin.
“I’ve spent the whole night thinking about how it will end, but right now, there’s only one thing I want to think about: there will be a middle.”
“Maybe Bennett was right–testing fate, toying with it, may not have any obvious impact at first, but eventually something has to backfire.”
As for the time travel concept, nothing much is new in here. As I’ve said earlier, I’ve read a bunch of time travel stories and if I’m going to base this to those books I already read, I can’t see something that seems to be new. The author used only the basic and most common concept of travelling through time. I’m not saying that it is a bad thing, if anything else it pushed the story to the contemporary genre than the fantasy. It’s like The Time Traveler’s Wife but not as epic romantic though.
Like the other time travel stories there are some rules and limitations with Bennett ability to time travel, and with that comes more unanswered questions for me. The author seems forgot to include some necessary details about time traveling, like the theories and explanations for Bennett ability. How he get this ability? Did he developed it? What’s so especial or unique in him that can make him travel through time? Is it a special gene like in? Is he the only one who can do it? I wish the author explore those things too.
There are few flaws in the story’s time travelling rules or at least not clear enough for me. Bennett is supposed to be able to time travel only in his own life time. But for unexplained reason he was able to time travel back in 1994 with his sister, a year where he isn’t born yet. Even if he was actually push back to his present time after they landed in 1994 and left his sister in that year, it still not clear why he was able to land to that year where in the first place he shouldn’t able to. The restrictions don’t properly play nor explain.
If there is one rule that I appreciate in this version of time travel is the basic rule of altering events – that there are possibilities and consequences in changing and playing with time. Playing God is not something we can just pull even if we have the ability to do so. We are not supposed to change the course of history, test fate, or mess around with time. It is not a choice for anyone to make, even the person whose life is involved. That’s not what life is. Sometimes we need to learn to accept things as they are and stop messing with what God intended for us. We have our chances and if we failed there’s should be no going back and undo what we did. Instead, we can try to do better next time, and correct things in the present and not in the past. Past is past we should leave it that way.
“I’m not saying it’s right. Or that I agree with it. I’m just saying that it happened. And whether it was supposed to or not, it’s not my place to change it just because I can.”
The ending is a bit feel contrive, not that I don’t like happy endings but I think the author made a mistake in choosing the happy ever after path. If she go to the sad but realistic end, she may actually leave a deeper mark to the readers. This is one of the story that I think will be brilliant with its sadness and emotional ending. Not only the author will play her readers emotions but also can leave a better stand about the consequences of playing God and changing things we are not supposed to.
Time Between Us is a contemporary romance than a fantasy novel that tells a sweet story of two teenagers who not only challenged the distance but also the timeline between them for the sake of love. A story that has an unrealistic premise of time travel but manage to sounds believable in all cases. It is about making connections and making choices in life.